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U.S. intelligence community says cannot solve COVID mystery without China

CoronavirusAug 27, 2021 10:50PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The word "COVID-19" is reflected in a drop on a syringe needle in this illustration taken November 9, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo 2/2

By Trevor Hunnicutt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. intelligence community does not believe it can resolve a debate over whether a Chinese laboratory incident was the source of COVID-19 without more information, U.S. officials said in a declassified summary on Friday.

U.S. officials said only China can help solve questions about the true origins of the virus that has now killed https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps 4.6 million people worldwide. "China's cooperation most likely would be needed to reach a conclusive assessment of the origins of COVID-19," they said.

President Joe Biden, who received a classified report this week summarizing the investigation he ordered, said Washington and its allies will continue to press China for answers.

"Critical information about the origins of this pandemic exists in the People's Republic of China, yet from the beginning, government officials in China have worked to prevent international investigators and members of the global public health community from accessing it," Biden said in a statement after the summary was released.

The summary, released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, is set to worsen discord between Beijing and Washington at a time when ties are at their lowest point in decades. In the United States, activists worried the investigation could also encourage violence against Asian Americans.

China's embassy in Washington issued a statement saying the report "wrongly" claimed that China continued to hinder the investigation and added that "a report fabricated by the U.S. intelligence community is not scientifically credible."

"The origin-tracing is a matter of science; it should and can only be left to scientists, not intelligence experts," it said.

The embassy charged that the report was aimed at "scapegoating China," an approach that would "disturb and sabotage international cooperation on origin-tracing and on fighting the pandemic."

The statement also charged that Washington "has been shying away from tracing the origin in the United States and closing the door on any such possibility."

China has ridiculed a theory that coronavirus escaped from a lab in Wuhan, the Chinese city where COVID-19 infections emerged in late 2019, setting off the pandemic, and has pushed fringe theories including that it slipped out of a lab at the U.S. Army's Fort Detrick base in Maryland in 2019.

The embassy statement suggested the United States should invite World Health Organization experts to Fort Detrick to investigate.

U.S. Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat who chairs the Senate intelligence committee, said the report "underscores the need for China to stop stonewalling international investigations into a global pandemic that has cost so many lives and livelihoods around the world."

He also urged Americans to denounce "hateful rhetoric and discrimination" against Asian Americans.

The U.S. report revealed new details about the extent of the disagreement within the Biden administration over the lab-leak theory.

Several organizations within the sprawling U.S. intelligence community thought the novel coronavirus emerged from "natural exposure to an animal infected with it or a close progenitor virus," according to the summary.

But they had only "low confidence" in that conclusion, it said. Other groups were not able to come to any firm opinion at all on the origins.

One intelligence community segment, however, developed "moderate confidence" the first human infection with COVID-19 was likely due to a "laboratory-associated incident, probably involving experimentation, animal handling, or sampling by the Wuhan Institute of Virology."

A WHO-led team that spent four weeks in and around Wuhan in January and February dismissed that theory. But their March report https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus/origins-of-the-virus, which was written jointly with Chinese scientists, has been faulted for using insufficient evidence in doing so.

The new U.S. report concluded that analysts would not be able to provide "a more definitive explanation" without new information from China, such as clinical samples and epidemiological data about the earliest cases.

Initially, U.S. spy agencies strongly favored the explanation that the virus originated in nature. But people familiar with intelligence reporting have said there has been little corroboration over recent months the virus had spread widely and naturally among wild animals.

"While this review has concluded, our efforts to understand the origins of this pandemic will not rest," Biden said. "We will do everything we can to trace the roots of this outbreak that has caused so much pain and death around the world, so that we can take every necessary precaution to prevent it from happening again."

The WHO's director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has said the group has not ruled out any hypothesis. The Geneva-based organization is set to impanel a new committee to develop next steps on studying the virus SARS-CoV-2.

But epidemiological experts said the window was closing for any useful data to be collected, particularly from people infected by the disease in 2019, when the virus likely first emerged.

U.S. intelligence community says cannot solve COVID mystery without China
 

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Comments (18)
Klaus Weyers
Klaus Weyers Aug 28, 2021 2:08PM ET
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just look at Hong Kong and then every thinking person should know not to trust anything the Chinese gov says
Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood Aug 28, 2021 4:34AM ET
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LMFAO.
Raja Tampan
Raja Tampan Aug 28, 2021 3:09AM ET
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So it like just throw the towel to each others
James Andrews
James Andrews Aug 28, 2021 2:56AM ET
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This makes us look childish and weak. Like everything that's happened since the phony election
Laureal Wong
Laureal Wong Aug 28, 2021 12:42AM ET
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its possible a virus carrying pest insects such as fly mosquito and rats carrying this virus and spread it out to all places and to humans when it make contacts and near by humans.
Laureal Wong
Laureal Wong Aug 28, 2021 12:41AM ET
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its possible a virus carrying pest insects such as fly mosquito and rats carrying this virus and spread it out to all places and to humans when it make contacts and near by humans.
Kelly Mayer
Kelly Mayer Aug 28, 2021 12:06AM ET
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The Covid mystery is 80% fully vaxed ppl in certain countries, while mortality is up 10 fold comparing to last year, cases are rising and current mortality is more than 70% on the fully vaxed. Solve that mystery. Doubt the vaxed can even be saved by this - c19early.com - at this point.
Swami Saranam
Swami Saranam Aug 27, 2021 10:26PM ET
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Started in India in 2017
Mike Mike
Mike Mike Aug 27, 2021 9:51PM ET
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4.6 million people died from a single cause. And no one question the existence of, so called, god.
Palatus Kikus
Palatus Kikus Aug 27, 2021 9:51PM ET
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Not an American by any chance are you?
palmer gossett
palmer gossett Aug 27, 2021 8:13PM ET
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Democrats created the super virus covid-19. To keep Trump from getting reelected and to impose their foot on your American necks
Benjamin McIntire
Benjamin McIntire Aug 27, 2021 8:13PM ET
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Lmfao
Jokers R Us
Jokers R Us Aug 27, 2021 8:07PM ET
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Lol had it been russia or hungary they would have said it was a bioweapon last year
Benjamin McIntire
Benjamin McIntire Aug 27, 2021 8:07PM ET
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You gonna put our ties to hungary as equal weight to russia?
Drupal Grupal
Drupal Grupal Aug 27, 2021 7:52PM ET
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I would think it would be in china's best interest plus is there any international law about if started and spread from there that it would be responsible to compensate? if that was the case I think there is enough indirect evidence to hold it responsible
David David
David9 Aug 27, 2021 7:52PM ET
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where? so us the scientific evidence... without that is he said she said...
Wuhan Lee
Wuhan Lee Aug 27, 2021 7:50PM ET
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it not come from China
Kevin Avila
Kevin Avila Aug 27, 2021 7:50PM ET
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The enhanced and modified version made by the CCP sure did…
Suresh Kumar
Suresh Kumar Aug 27, 2021 7:27PM ET
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Force china to cooperate if not a world boycot
Limin Tandiono
Limin Tandiono Aug 27, 2021 7:27PM ET
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US isn't proven innocent. Open the investigation into US an Europe as well, to be fair.
David David
David9 Aug 27, 2021 7:27PM ET
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US and India should be held accountable... these two alone combine for 1.2 million covid deaths... this is crime against humanity for not doing the job to isolate and contain the virus...
David David
David9 Aug 27, 2021 5:52PM ET
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The intelligence community has no say in this... we know how the intel went with Iraq. This question of origin can only come from scientists. Anything else is like a 5 year old thinking he can fly to the moon...
Franco Dominguez
Franco Dominguez Aug 27, 2021 4:32PM ET
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crisis in afghanistan when vaccines doesnt work and japan found that graphene is on vaccines
ZS Beck
ZS Beck Aug 27, 2021 4:30PM ET
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I tell you where the origin.A Chinese family of four , after a hard dat of work decided to eat a Bat. This is it . Stop wasting my money to search it.
David David
David9 Aug 27, 2021 4:30PM ET
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Unfortunately this answer is like a 5 year old thinking that he can somehow spread wings and fly to the moon on galaxy Freedom...
Gary SKY saw
Gary SKY saw Aug 27, 2021 4:30PM ET
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Yeah, tell it to ozzy Osbourne, he has a cure to, you must be smoking something again
Al Gore
Al Gore Aug 27, 2021 4:14PM ET
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lol just say it's lab leak and biden still wont do anything
 
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